How You Can Help
When disasters occur anywhere in the world, Americans generously offer assistance to those in need. Decades of experience in disaster relief and recovery have shown that the best way to help people affected by disaster is to make cash donations to reputable relief and charitable organizations on the ground. These groups work closely with affected communities, know what people need and how to strengthen recovery efforts.
Cash donations are the most efficient form of assistance. Unlike material donations, cash involves no transportation costs, shipping delays, or customs fees. It also enables relief organizations to spend more time providing aid by spending less time managing goods. Cash donations also allow relief supplies to be purchased in markets close to the disaster site, which stimulates the local economy by providing employment and generating cash flow.
Organizations listed on the resources below are experienced and are participating directly in relief efforts. If you would like to know more about organizations you are considering for support, you can find detailed financial and programmatic information at: www.givewell.org, www.charitynavigator.org, www.charitywatch.org, and the Better Business Bureau www.bbb.org
Recognizing that diseases such as Ebola, H5N1 and H7N9 avian influenzas, and MERS and SARS Coronaviruses periodically spill over from animals to cause outbreaks (and sometimes pandemics) in humans, USAID invested a total of $1 billion since 2005, including $72.5 million in FY14, in its Emerging and Pandemic Threats program that is strengthening the capacity of 18 countries in Africa and Asia to more-quickly and effectively detect and respond to viral threats, including Ebola. The program is testing samples from more than 21,000 animals and USAID has identified over 500 new viruses related to ones known to cause disease in animals and people. This program grew out of USAID’s initial response to H5N1 avian influenza in 2005 and is working to identify interventions to reduce the risk of the animal viruses spilling over and spreading in human populations. The strategy of preventing human infectious with animal viruses by reducing viral spread in animals has been very successful for H5N1 avian influenza.
The consolidated Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak Overview of Needs and Requirements is available on the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ website here.
About USAID CIDI
USAID created the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) in 1988 one month after Hurricane Gilbert made landfall as a Category 5 storm that affected 10 countries. An outpouring of unsolicited donations took up space needed to stage and deliver life-saving relief supplies, and USAID and other responders spent valuable time managing unneeded clothing, expired medicine, and other non-critical items. USAID established the Center to educate the public about the advantages of giving monetary donations to relief organizations and the downside of donating unsolicited material goods. www.cidi.org
USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) leads and coordinates the U.S. government’s humanitarian assistance efforts overseas, responding to an average of 65 disasters in more than 50 countries every year. For more information on USAID/OFDA’s life-saving efforts, go to: Where We Work